Make your Mask Matter:  Summer Tips for the Equestrian Athlete

Make your Mask Matter: Summer Tips for the Equestrian Athlete

July 13, 2020

Horse Shows have resumed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist in keeping us safe, several changes have been implemented by US Equestrian including: 

“Face masks/face coverings must be worn whenever you have the possibility of being within six feet of another person (including members of your own household), except when mounted on a horse or seated in a horse-drawn carriage or cart. Please do your part and wear your face mask/face covering as required.” 

-US Equestrian COVID-19 Competition Action Plan

USEF Equestrian COVID

LINK to US Equestrian COVID019 Resources. 

Whether competing away or training at home, equestrians are athletes and as such we have added requirements to ensure that we are receiving the benefits that masks are meant to provide. 

1) Quality of Fabric Matters

"A lot of scientists have been trying to figure out what material is best for a reusable face mask, and the answer isn’t exactly straightforward.  What they’ve found is that it’s less about the type of fabric — cotton, linen, silk — and more about the quality of fabric. Higher quality fabrics have a tighter weave and thicker thread that do a better job of blocking droplets from passing through.

You want the fabric to be breathable while not allowing respiratory droplets to spread.

TIP:  Hold the material up to a bright light and look at the light coming through the fabric. If it outlines individual fibers and you can see the light through fabric, it’s probably not as effective. The less of that you can see, the better the filter.

SOURCE & LINK FOR MORE INFO:  What To Look For In A Face Mask, According To Science, , Five Thirty Eight, June 24, 2020.

2) Moisture & Masks Do Not Mix

"Now that it's starting to warm up outside, the longevity of your masks throughout the day may be shorter. That's because the mask can cause your face to sweat, creating moisture inside the mask. Once a mask becomes wet, it's no longer useful and should be changed immediately.


SOURCE & LINK FOR MORE INFO:  Face mask feeling uncomfortable? Here's what you can do. Katie Conner, CNET, 

3) Cleaning Your Non-Medical Face Mask

"You should clean your face mask after every wearing. This reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus or other germs.  

  • Bandannas, face scarves and masks made of fabric, such as cotton, can be washed in your regular laundry using hot water.
  • After laundering your fabric masks, tumble dry them in the dryer on a high setting.
  • You might consider using a non-scented laundry detergent if you are sensitive to perfumes so it is easier to wear the masks.
  • You can also hand wash your mask, using hot, soapy water. Scrub the mask for at least 20 seconds, and dry them on high heat in the dryer. 

*Please note, disposable, blue surgical masks cannot be laundered or cleaned and should be thrown away when it is visibly soiled or damaged.

SOURCE & LINK FOR MORE INFO: How to Care for Your Mask, reviewed by senior director of infection prevention Lisa Lockerd Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H, John Hopkins University, Updated: July 2, 2020.

4) Storage Matters

"Facemasks should be carefully folded so that the outer surface is held inward and against itself to reduce contact with the outer surface during storage. The folded mask can be stored between uses in a clean sealable paper bag or breathable container.

SOURCE: Google: How should face masks be properly stored? downloaded June 28, 2020

Final Thoughts

Think of your mask as an important piece of your riding equipment.  Selection criteria should include quality of material and proper care is necessary to ensure effectiveness.  Have some fun expressing your individuality!  There are many high-quality equestrian fashion companies that are creating face masks using beautiful fabrics paired with functional designs that transition from the street to the stable.

Always remember, we are all in this supporting each other and keeping our community safe.

 Kristin m thornton


I have several technical masks for various activities including running and riding, but I also enjoy fashionable designs for the rare event when I am more dressed up.  Two of my favorites are from the Rebbeca Ray Designs Italian silk mask collection. Not only do I appreciate that each is hand made from Italian silk, but their disposable filter liners provide me with an additional piece-of-mind.





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